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Redeeming TimeProtestantism and Chicago's Eight-Hour Movement, 1866-1912$
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William A. Mirola

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038839

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038839.001.0001

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Eight Hours and the Financial Crisis of 1873

Eight Hours and the Financial Crisis of 1873

(p.71) Chapter 3 Eight Hours and the Financial Crisis of 1873
Redeeming Time

William A. Mirola

University of Illinois Press

This chapter studies union efforts at putting the eight-hour system to work. As a new decade began, Chicago workers remained angry and frustrated by the lack of enforcement of the Illinois eight-hour law and by the ongoing resistance of employers both to the moral pressure of reformers' arguments and to their attempt to enforce the eight-hour law through strikes. Yet despite what seemed to be the general failure of the 1867 eight-hour campaign and the fragmentation of the movement into conservative and radical factions, Yankee, British, German, and Irish trade unionists kept the goal of redeeming time through the eight-hour system as the centerpiece of labor activism in the new decade. In the fall of 1873, Chicago experienced the first financial collapse of the industrial era. The collapse and the depression that followed inaugurated a new phase in the development of the labor movement: the rise to prominence of semiskilled and unskilled immigrants within Chicago's labor movement.

Keywords:   eight-hour system, Chicago workers, eight-hour law, labor activism, industrial era, labor movement, semiskilled immigrants, unskilled immigrants

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